With oil prices plunging more than 50 percent last year, many exploration companies have halted programs and cut staff in an effort to stay afloat. Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas is in an enviable position compared to other junior oil exploration companies. Recognizing it had to be creative to maintain its dominant position as a license holder offshore of Namibia, the Africa focused company has secured around $10 million of cash in the bank and most of that amount won’t be used anytime soon.
Executive VP and co-founder Alan Friedman says Eco Atlantic recognized early on the potential of its assets. ‘We realized we can use them as currency to bring in a significant industry partner.’ And over a short period, several joined Eco Atlantic in projects, including Azinam and world renown Tullow Oil, which carries the Company in executing its exploration programs, including the drilling of a well on one of its blocks. Eco Atlantic went on to acquire co-explorer Pan African Oil, solidifying its position as the dominant license holder offshore Namibia.
The oil junior has cut expenses mirroring the industry trend, providing for a low G&A. Friedman says ‘Eco can sit comfortably on its $10 million buffer for the next year and a half.’
‘Not only has the company proved that it can survive in this poor environment’ says Friedman, ‘but it has demonstrated that it can execute transactions with oil majors in one of the worst oil environments and find creative ways to raise cash.’ It’s survival instincts allow Eco to look beyond dried up equity markets. The company now has enough cash to look at other assets in Africa.
‘We have very strong relationships in Africa and have the ability to access assets economically and through direct negotiations, as opposed to participating in expensive bidding rounds. We will certainly keep our eyes open for prospective projects in geopolitically attractive jurisdictions that make economic sense and which have become attainable in the current market conditions.’ says Friedman.
Eco Atlantic’s main goal is having cash and getting through the current state of weak oil prices, which Friedman predicts will improve substantially over time, pointing out the oil business is cyclical. The Company’s notable partners will carry the expenditure on the Namibian exploration program for at least the next eighteen months enabling the Company to progress their very prospective blocks in Namibia.
The Company’s optimism and confidence in the prospects of its’ licenses and the oil market in general, is reflected in the recently announced share buyback program through a normal course issue bid. Management and the board of directors currently hold around 45 percent of the company’s issued and outstanding shares. ‘We believe Eco Atlantic’s current value, trading at around cash, presents a great investment opportunity,’ Friedman says insistently. We are financially comfortable, have technically prospective blocks in geopolitically attractive countries, and have world class partners who are assisting financially and technically with the development of our assets.
Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas is a Canada-based oil and gas exploration company, focused on the acquisition and development of upstream petroleum opportunities around the world.(Source: Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas)